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Re: Likes: 2 Shelves: 1 Comments: 2. More Details. Add to Read List. The Mermaid by Author Unknown. Cassandra shifted impatiently from foot to foot waiting for her little sister to finish brushing her hair.


Sculpture of the African water spirit Mami Wata. As the gods there would not allow her to give up her great beauty, only her bottom half became a fish, and she kept her top half in human form. The ruthless nature of the male merrow is why the creatures were said to have relationships with humans.

The mermaid's conflicting personalities as both a beautiful and seductive maiden and a monstrous sea creature that dragged sailors to their deaths is a fitting representation for the wild, violent yet fascinating nature of the sea itself. Any other answer was said to anger her, and she would conjure a storm and doom the vessel and its sailors to a death at sea.

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There are stories of them tempting people into the water, but others where they cast off their seal skins, marry humans and begin families. With such a rich and varied history, the symbol of the mermaid is as changeable as the sea itself. A famous Greek folktale claimed that Alexander the Great's sister, Thessalonike was transformed into a mermaid upon her death in BC and lived in the Aegean sea.

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Inthe Danish sculptor Edvard Eriksen was commissioned to create a statue inspired by Andersen's fairy tale. In others, she embodies the destructive nature of the water, luring sailors to their deaths — serving as an omen for storms, unruly seas and disaster.

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With such rich folklore, there have been numerous depictions of mermaids in literature and art. Stories of mermaids have existed for thousands of years and span cultures across the world - from coastal settlements in Ireland to the landlocked Karoo desert in South Africa. Allegorical sketch of Mary Queen of Scots, Edinburgh. One of the earliest mermaid legends appeared in Syria around BC when the goddess Atargatis dove into a lake to take the form of a fish.

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In Homer's epic poem, The Odyssey, the titular hero of the story ties himself to the mast to hear the song of the sirens without destroying his ship. Whenever a ship passed, she would ask the sailors one question: "Is King Alexander alive? Whatever the case, the depiction is a potent image of a lone queen exerting her power as her subjects fought at sea. In their anger and sorrow, the Rusalki now lured men and children to their watery graves.

The princess fails to undo her curse and the prince marries someone else. A mermaid is a mythical sea-dwelling creature, often described as having the head and body of a woman and a fish's tail below the waist. These tales usually end in tragedy when the selkie returns to the oceans, with or without their loved ones. In early Greek mythology, the sirens were half-women, half-bird creatures and are often confused with mermaids.

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While the early Britons such as the celts have folktales of mermaids, no illustrations have been uncovered. Archaeologists have found s in Mesopotamian mythology of Oannes, a male fish-god from over five thousand years ago. June Interestingly, the symbol of the mermaid also appears in a series of illustrations of Mary Queen of Scots, Elizabeth's cousin and rival for the throne. The mermaids of Greek and Roman mythology are considerably close to the appearance and character of the European myths we think about today. With the absence of physical genitalia, the sex of the mermaid is irrelevant.

While mermaids are morally ambiguous creatures, sirens were said to be always malicious and dangerous, attracting sailors with their captivating voices towards the hazardous rocky coast of their island. The mermaid may represent Elizabeth's ability to provide calm seas to her English fleet and summon tempestuous storms for her Spanish rivals, much like a mermaid.

Historians are conflicted whether the mermaid imagery is simply a typical piece of Renaissance decoration or connected to the two ship scenes above. Published in in Copenhagen, Denmark as part of a collection of children's fairy tales, the story into been adapted to many different forms of media, including theatre, opera, and, most popularly, a Disney animated story in Andersen and Disney's versions of the tale have noticeable differences.

Original in the Minneapolis Institute of Art. As these spirits or divinities stem from multiple African cultures with ancient roots, there is no singular characteristic to their identity. Mami Wata's gender is turning, meaning she can sometimes appear as a man or woman.

While initially regarded as benevolent spirits of fertility and agriculture, Rusalki gained a more sinister description in the s. They were believed to be the ghosts of women who died violent deaths by drowning.

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This story is where our term, "siren song" originates, referring to a request that is hard to resist but that, if heeded, will lead to a catastrophe. How far into humanity's past, our stories of mermaids reach is unknown — possibly since we first began finding creatures in the sea. Attica, Greece. The two meet and fall in love and Suvannamaccha ends up helping Hanuman finishing the path. In Gaelic stories, they are often described as "maighdean-mhara" meaning "maiden of the sea.

To this day, shipwrecks are frequent when vessels are coming into land. Their counterpart, the male merrow is considered grotesque, cruel and more fish than man. Person of the Sea is a sculpture by Eve Shepherd. A feminine spirit found in many medieval European folktales, the Melusine has a serpent or fish's tail and sometimes has wings.

Many ancient Greek myths equate sirens with mermaids.

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Mermaids often appear as figurehe on the front of nautical vessels. The most famous legend describes her as a willful girl who tries to get revenge on her human father on behalf of her fairy mother, only to be punished by her mother with a tail. In some cultures, the mermaid ifies life and fertility within the ocean. However, while they share many characteristics, they are now seen as two different entities. The mermaid is now seen as a herald of good luck and her figure is depicted in charms, streamers and icons throughout Cambodia, Thailand and Lao. These shape-shifting creatures live as seals while in the sea and transform into humans while on land.

The English word mermaid is a compound of "mere" Old English for sea and "maid" a girl or young woman. Nigeria Igbo.

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As sailors spent months, sometimes years travelling across vast oceans; it's not surprising that beliefs and superstitions of figures controlling the unpredictable weather appeared in nautical stories over the centuries. Southeast Asian folklore includes the story of a mermaid princess, Suvannamaccha meaning "golden fish".

Female merrows, with their beauty and long green hair, resemble our traditional views of mermaids.

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It is a strange carving, with the mermaid found alongside two leopards and several hunting scenes. Commissioned by Royal Museums Greenwich, the sculpture was created after Shepherd spent two years working with trans and gender diverse youth at Mermaids UK. More recently, the figure of the mermaid was adopted by the transgender youth network, Mermaids UK. The symbol of the mermaid provides a potent symbol to the community due to the mermaid's ability to transform.

Following colonialism and the rise of the slave trade in the s, the stories and beliefs of Mami Wata spread across the globe and remain an important source of spiritual connection with African communities seeking to reclaim their traditions and cultural identities.

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The little mermaid sacrifices herself and ends up living with the "spirits of the air". The figurehead, which was popular between the 16th and 20th centuries is a carved wooden decoration located on the bow of ships.

Legends of real mermaids

Archaeologists have found Atargatis' figure on ancient temples, statues and coins. The earliest depiction of a mermaid in England can be found in Norman chapel in Durham Castle, built around by Saxon stonemasons. Wood, pigment. While many different decorations have been used, mermaids proved popular with the sailors as they were believed to appease the sea, ensuring good weather and finding a safe way back to land.

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The bronze sculpture has remained a popular tourist attraction and icon of Copenhagen since its unveiling in Look closely at the Armada portrait of Queen Elizabeth I and you may notice a mermaid carved into the chair of state. Black-figure Kylix bowl with Sirens. Tales of mermaids date back to the first written s of humanity, but how much do we know about the mythical sea creatures?

Running aground can happen for any of reasons, such as changes in water depths or navigating errors, but this may explain why sirens or mermaids were said to congregate in these regions.

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Hungary, France and Germany all have different s of Melusine. The spirit is worshipped for both their benevolence in offering beauty, healing and wisdom, and as a way of warding off natural disasters.

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Early mapmakers such as Olaus Magnus, used sea monsters including mermaids to portray dangerous geographic areas of the oceans - places where bad weather and shipwrecks were frequent. His plans are hampered by Suvannamaccha who has been instructed to prevent the causeway's completion. In sailor folklore, mermaids represent both good fortune and disaster. In the Ramayana, the countries retellings of the Indian epic poem, one of the heroes, Hanuman attempts to build a bridge of stones across the sea.

In Andersen's story, the mermaid princess loses her tongue to obtain legs and every time she walks; her pain is compared to "walking on knives. Historians believe the mermaid symbolises the temptations of the soul.

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Originally, Greeks considered Mermaids half woman and half bird, but, considering that all mythical stories are constantly changing along tradition, then we find that Mermaids become half fish and half woman after a dispute with the Muses, their aunts from the genealogic point of view.


Mermaids are mythological creatures, appearing in folklore across the globe for thousands of years.


I often am asked where the idea of mermaids came from, who came up with the idea, and whether they might exist or have existed at some point.


From malicious sirens of The Odyssey to Disney's Ariel, mermaids have remain ed a central fixture in mythology across cultures.